Teaching process for technological literacy: The case of nanotechnology and global open source pedagogy

Richard Doyle, Richard Devon

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper we propose approaching the concern addressed by the technology literacy movement by using process design rather than product design. Rather than requiring people to know an impossible amount about technology, we suggest that we can teach process for understanding and making decisions about any technology. This process can be applied to new problems and new contexts that emerge from the continuous innovation and transformation of technology markets. Such a process offers a strategy for planning for and abiding the uncertainty intrinsic to the development of modern science and technology. We teach students from diverse backgrounds in an NSF funded course on the social, human, and ethical (SHE) impacts of nanotechnology. The process we will describe is global open source collective intelligence (GOSSIP). This paper traces out some the principles of GOSSIP through the example of a course taught to a mixture of engineers and students from the Arts and the Humanities. Open source is obviously a powerful method: witness the development of Linux, and GNU before that, and the extraordinary success of Wikipedia. Democratic, and hence diverse, information flows have been suggested as vital to sustaining a healthy company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2010
Event2010 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2010Jun 23 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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